Minutes of 18/05/2000 - Provisional Edition

Coherent European approach for space


European Parliament resolution on the communication of the Commission on the Commission working document 'Towards a coherent European approach for space' (SEC(1999) 789 - C5-0336/1999 - 1999/2213(COS))

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to the Commission working document (SEC(1999) 789 - C5-0336/1999),

-  having regard to the Council resolution of 2 December 1999 on developing a coherent European space strategy(1),

-  having regard to its resolution of 25 April 1979 on Community participation in space research(2),

-  having regard to its resolution of 17 September 1981 on European space policy(3),

-  having regard to its resolution of 17 June 1987 on European space policy(4),

-  having regard to its resolution of 22 October 1991 on European space policy(5),

-  having regard to its resolution of 6 May 1994 on the Community and space(6),

-  having regard to its resolution of 13 January 1998 on the Commission communication 'The European Union and space: fostering applications, markets and industrial competitiveness" (COM(96) 617 - C4-0042/97)(7),

-  having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

-  having regard to the report of the Committee on Industry, External Trade, Research and Energy (A5-0119/2000),

A.  whereas space research and applications have not only provided new knowledge, but have also had tremendous benefits in our daily lives,

B.  whereas international cooperation is essential for space research and the development of applications,

C.  whereas a significant portion of the practical uses of space research is already controlled by the market,

D.  whereas it is vital to develop the use of space for purposes of general interest and public service,

E.  whereas the European Space Agency (ESA) has functioned effectively as a body coordinating the activities of its member states and has played a leading role in space research and applications both in Europe and worldwide,

1.  Welcomes the working document and considers it a commitment by the Commission to continue and further improve on European Union support for space research and its applications;

2.  Believes that the European Union must adopt a more balanced approach to space by strongly supporting both the scientific and the practical use of space research;

3.  Welcomes the Commission's intention of establishing a policy framework for future programmes; considers that this framework must be developed after extensive and in-depth consultations between all the parties involved in the scientific, technical, industrial, commercial and political sectors, together with the national agencies;

4.  Expresses its strong desire to see space used for peaceful purposes for the benefit of mankind as a whole;

5.  Calls on the Commission to take appropriate measures to involve all EU Member States actively in space research and applications;

6.  Calls on the Commission, in view of the increasing importance over the coming decades of the space industry, to encourage Member States and academic institutions to increase the training and number of qualified scientists and engineers in this field;

7.  Urges the Commission and the Council to step up still further cooperation between the European Union and other countries;

8.  Takes the view that, in addition to the traditional focus of its work, such as the research and development agency for European space exploration, the Member States should enable the ESA to expand its functions to include projects initiated in the context of the EU;

9.  Takes the view that space policy must not be wholly dominated by the market and that account must be taken of long-term assessments of the benefits and risks of exploiting space, not only from the point of view of the interests of industry, but also in terms of the welfare of mankind;

10.  Believes that the European Union must maintain and further develop competitive launching systems and increase research into improving launching systems and developing new ones;

11.  Recognising the potential enormous expansion in launch capacity needed to supply the demand for putting satellites in orbit, urges the Commission and Council to open negotiations with the world's space powers, namely the USA, Russia, China and Japan, to collaborate on:

(a)  developing launch vehicles

(b)  the creation of a Global Stationary Satellite Position that is not compromised by national security considerations;

asks the Commission to organise a conference of interested parties to open discussions on the above;

12.  Supports the development of new space communications systems in equilibrium with other contemporary technologies;

13.  Believes that the use of space for communications and other practical applications must not hinder other scientific activities, such as radio astronomy research; takes the view that, in particular, the allocation of frequencies for satellite use and avoidance of interference static must take place in close cooperation with the astronomy community and other passive users of the radio spectrum;

14.  Reiterates its support for the development of a world satellite navigation system with strong European participation (Galileo);

15.  Calls on the Commission to develop European scientific participation in the Alpha station programme;

16.  Takes the view that the European Union should have a policy and a strategy addressing the effective use of space-based systems for monitoring of the environment and for security, in order to protect citizens" lives and natural resources, identify at an early stage, or even avert, natural or man-made disasters, combat fraud and verify international treaty compliance; calls on the Commission in cooperation with the Member States to take all necessary measures in this respect;

17.  Calls on the Commission, in close cooperation with the ESA and the Member States, to draw up a proposal for the Council and Parliament for a European Earth observation plan and an environmental monitoring service; considers that the ESA "Living planet"  programme could be used as a basis;

18.  Stresses the need to establish a properly funded programme to exploit space for non-commercial purposes in the fields of communication and observation;

19.  Takes the view that, in the light of its current political and economic position and without aiming to create a completely independent space-based observation system, the EU has an obligation to support a global environmental and security monitoring initiative and calls on the Commission to incorporate this into the European space strategy;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 375, 24.12.1999, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 127, 21.5.1979, p. 42.
(3) OJ C 260, 12.10.1981, p. 102.
(4) OJ C 190, 20.7.1987, p. 78.
(5) OJ C 305, 25.11.1991, p. 26.
(6) OJ C 205, 25.7.1994, p. 467.
(7) OJ C 34, 2.2.1998, p. 27.